The Three Choirs Festival returns to Worcester from Saturday 24 July to Sunday 1 August with a programme of 77 choral and orchestral concerts, recitals, talks, family events, cathedral services, theatre and exhibitions

Featuring over 1,000 performers, the 2021 festival incorporates the themes of journeying, exploration and looking to the future. Subject to the removal of Covid-19 social contact limitations by the government, ‘a stellar line-up of soloists’ will join the festival’s own chorus, the three cathedral choirs of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester, and orchestra-in-residence, the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The organisers ‘are optimistic this year’s festival will look and feel as normal as possible’ but stress that ‘the safety of its audience, artists and staff is of utmost importance’. For audiences, safety measures will follow the most recent government guidance at the time, and a limited number of tickets will be released during the first sales period with the expectation that further tickets can be made available as restrictions ease. how the festival is being made COVID-safe will be available at 3choirs.org in the coming weeks.

The 2021 festival celebrates the music of over fifty living composers writing in a wide range of styles. The major festival commission is The World Imagined, for tenor, chorus and orchestra, by Gabriel Jackson. Families can enjoy the concert premiere of Gaspard’s Foxtrot by Jonathan Dove, and the combined cathedral choirs will sing two new works by John Rutter and one by Cheryl Frances-Hoad. Other choral premieres include Roderick Williams writing for The Elgar Chorale, Dani Howard for the Marian Consort and Shiva Feshareki, who will perform on turntables alongside the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Instrumental premieres include Michael Small’s Prism for violinist Fenella Humphreys, and new works for the ESO by Steve Elcock and Emily Doolittle.

An extra date has also been added to the festival week to include a new event on Sunday 1 August: Gabrieli Roar is an ambitious, collaborative performance of Haydn’s The Creation, bringing together world-class musicians and young singers from across the country.

Dr Alexis Paterson, Three Choirs Festival Chief Executive, said: ‘To put a chorus on our stage once more will bring joy to so many. We know that our most ambitious plans are dependent on the continued success of the government’s roadmap, and have made arrangements for suitable alternatives should that roadmap falter. But after much careful discussion, the Board agreed it is vital to keep our festival chorus at the heart of our event, and this is what we’re working towards.’

Booking for the festival opens in May. Ticket Office: +44 1452 768928, 10 am – 4 pm, Monday to Friday. There are plenty of other ways to get involved with this year’s festival too, for example through volunteering or joining the Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir. See 3choirs.org for full details

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